HIGASHIOSAKA – Argentina coach Mario Ledesma said it “doesn’t get any bigger” than playing England for a place the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after his side revived their bid to reach the knockout phase with a 28-12 win over Tonga.Saturday’s success was badly-needed by the Pumas, whose campaign in Pool C — the tournament’s ‘group of death’ because it features three major sides — started with an agonising 23-21 loss to fellow heavyweights France.Against Tonga, however, the Pumas grabbed a four-try bonus-point as early as the 26th minute, with hooker Julian Montoya scoring a hat-trick.But they are set to face a sterner test against England, who are unbeaten at this World Cup after comfortable wins over Tonga (35-3) and the United States (45-7).England, who’ve won their last nine Tests against the Pumas, are one of the favourites for the title, with Ledesma in no doubt of the task that will confront Argentina when they face Eddie Jones’s side in Tokyo on October 5.“Obviously England came over here to win the World Cup. That’s what Eddie has been talking about for the past four years and they have been performing,” said Ledesma.“The first two years they almost didn’t lose,” he added when referring to England’s run of 17 successive wins following Jones’s appointment as coach after their first-round exit on home soil at the 2015 World Cup.“They look pretty sharp.”The former Argentina hooker added: “Having a game against England to qualify for the quarter-finals doesn’t get any bigger.”Argentina, 2007 and 2015 semi-finalists, led 28-7 at half-time only for Tonga to rally after the break in a match where the Pumas missed a concerning 29 tackles.It was a mirror image of their display against France, where the Pumas had been 17 points behind, but rallied in the second half only to lose to Camille Lopez’s drop goal.Ledesma knows a ‘game of two halves’ is unlikely to beat England but he was at a loss to explain his side’s latest see-saw display.“My answer is the same as it was last week,” he said.“If I knew the reason this wouldn’t have happened again.“In the match against France it was the first half, in this match, it was the second half. This time we made substitutions but there were still lots of chances we couldn’t finish off.“I will talk deeply about it with the players but I think we are in a vicious cycle,” he added.
‘Doesn’t get any bigger than playing England for RWC quarter-final – Ledesma
Saturday 28 18:11